Iran showcases air defense prowess amid deadly protests - why? - analysis

Tehran is concerned about attacks and it wants to show that, even if it is facing protests in the very heart of the capital, it can still defend itself.

A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022. (photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022.
(photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Amid increasing protests in Iran, and a day after fire and gunshots were heard at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran; Iran’s regime has announced new capabilities for its Bavar-373 air defense system. The news from Tehran on Sunday was that Iran said it had tested its air defense system at a 300-km. range 

According to Iranian regime media, the commander of the Army Air Defense Force Brig.-Gen. Alireza Sabahifard announced the initial tests of the Bavar-373 at a range of 300 km.

“Iran's Air Defense Force is at the level of the world's most up-to-date equipment in different fields including the field of radar, intelligence, interception and combat, and several other types of equipment,” said Sabahifard. "Today, we have created the necessary defense cover in all aerial levels, and we have been able to test the Bavar-373 system up to a range of 200 km in the field of ​​high altitude, and we have also started the initial tests of this system at 300 km range," he added. 

Tehran focused on air defense amid protests

This is important because it shows that Iran wants to test air defense even as it faces protests at home. Iran has also lashed out in the region, striking at Kurdish opposition groups earlier this month.

This shows that Tehran is concerned about attacks and it wants to show that, even if it is facing protests in the very heart of the capital, it can still defend itself.

 Iranian citizens and locals protest in support of Iranian women and against the death of Mahsa Amini, in Barcelona, Spain, October 15, 2022. (credit: NACHO DOCE/REUTERS) Iranian citizens and locals protest in support of Iranian women and against the death of Mahsa Amini, in Barcelona, Spain, October 15, 2022. (credit: NACHO DOCE/REUTERS)

Iran blames the West and opposition groups for the protests. However, the regime has also been careful not to antagonize more groups because it knows how sensitive the situation is. Many protesters are outraged at the killing of Jina Mahsa Amini. Other scenes of police assaulting women have caused more outrage. Thus Iran wants to show it can extend the range of its air defenses and test them; while it strikes at the opposition and tries to contain protests.  

The reports in Iran said that Sabahifard also added that Iran, “with the domestically made radar systems, can monitor thousands of nearby kilometers and is able to monitor the movements of the enemies in their homes and bases…Our enemies know that today we are the absolute defense power in the region," he added.